FDA Grants Health Claim for Whole Grains and Diabetes

September 27, 2013

It's a wordy one, but a health claim nonetheless.

With fiber consumption still low in the United States, FDA has approved a qualified health claim for whole grains and type 2 diabetes risk reduction. The agency is defining whole grains as intact, ground, cracked or flaked cereal grains that contain their principal components-the endosperm, germ, and bran-in proportions found in the whole grain in nature.

FDA’s decision is a response to a 2012 petition filed by the packaged foods company ConAgra Foods. The company submitted multiple reviews, intervention studies, meta-analyses, and observational studies on whole grains and incidence of type 2 diabetes.

ConAgra was hoping for one of the following health claims:

  • Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include three servings (48 grams) of whole grains per day may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2.

  • Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that whole grains (three servings or 48 grams per day), as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2.

Instead, FDA is offering these options:

  • Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although the FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.

  • Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”

The full health claims aren’t so convincing, but maybe it’s what the consumer reads first that counts. ConAgra Foods has publicly announced its satisfaction with the decision. The company is expected to use the claims on, among other potential products, its 100% Whole Grain Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn and Ultragrain Whole Wheat Flour, a wheat flour developed for the same taste, texture, and appearance of white flour..

The latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consumer 3 oz of whole grains daily.

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